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Hopes, match washed out

cricket Updated: Oct 18, 2010 01:13 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
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The disappointment was too much to bear for some of those involved with the Kochi one-day international.

For three years, the city waited for an international match, and yet their best-laid plans went to waste as heavy rains leading upto Super Sunday ensured that not a single ball was bowled.

While the scheduled 9 am start never looked likely, there was hope that somehow 20 overs would be squeezed in, and the fans filled the Nehru Stadium despite the worst reports from the meteorological department. At 10.15am, though, the worst fears were confirmed as a brief shower ensured that the match had to be abandoned.

Ironically, the weather improved steadily as soon as the game was called off, bright sunshine bathing the ground and city. But the damage had already been done, with water making the bowlers' run-ups and other parts of the outfield so soggy that players would have risked serious injury if they got on the park.

The pitch itself was not an issue, having been under heavy covers, and over 100 ground staff, working day and night, ensured that there was no seepage onto the main square that housed the pitch blocks.

The Kerala Cricket Association, taking no chances, had pressed into service Parthasarathy Kannan, the curator, whose home ground is the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. With almost four decades' experience, Kannan knows enough about producing tracks, but even he realised that nothing could be done.

"The pitch itself was wonderful. It would have been a good batting track that would have produced plenty of runs," said Kannan.

"But we have no control over the weather. We tried our best, but the rains kept interrupting our efforts. The outfield was wet and really there was no option left but to call off the match."

For fans reluctantly emptying out of the stadium, the washout hit home particularly hard as the match was billed as an opportunity for them to show solidarity with the India team. The match would have been the first one in which the team sported their new colours, a lighter shade of blue, specially launched by Nike in the lead-up to the World Cup.

The campaign, which has been billed "Bleed Blue," in an attempt to bring out just what lengths an Indian fan will go to support the team, has already gathered serious momentum in online forums, with more than 2.5 million people joining hands on social networking website, Facebook.

At Kochi, the plan was for the stands to be a sea of blue, with Nike giving away a Bleed Blue T-shirt with every ticket sold. Fans were sporting India colours in large numbers, but the rains ruined their party.